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Peoples finds Gap in motor retailing

Glasgow-based Peoples has invested £2.5m in Europe's first Ford Direct Superstore which is projected to have a £2m turnover and sell 2,000 used cars a year.

The site at Prescot, near Liverpool, is expected to be the template for eight more sites to be opened across the UK. Staff sold 46 cars over the first weekend.

The Ford Direct programme, which retails 69,000 used cars a year in the UK, is headed by Ross Tilley who hinted at the timetable for future development.

“If things work the way we envisage, we should have another two or three sites in operation by the end of this year,” he said.

“Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton and a couple in London are some of the sites already identified. This new concept is targeting a completely new approach to used car selling. We want to become far more in keeping with mainstream retailing like Gap and the Carphone Warehouse.”

Brian Gilda, managing director of £156m turnover Peoples, said: “This new approach to selling Ford Direct vehicles has evolved over two years and follows close consultation between myself and Ford.

“Working with Polk Automotive Intelligence, we identified customers as being a little bit older than new car buyers. Also, we know many women are looking for safety and security in vehicle purchase, rather than buying the cheapest. We identified that people are willing to travel for the right product.”

Housed in a £600,000 custom-built facility, alongside the main Ford dealership, the business has a car-free central area with work stations and a coffee shop. Around 200 prepared Ford Direct vehicles are on display outside.

“What we wanted to do was create something of a wow in the minds of the customer,” said Mr Gilda.

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